Prior to playing Tennessee, the Vanderbilt women's basketball team played a video highlighting the Commodores' rich women's basketball history.
The Lady Vols, of course, are one of the most storied programs in the sport and have been for decades. The difference is that Tennessee still plays just as well as its history would indicate, while Vanderbilt has fallen on hard times. While the Commodores' rebuild under new coach Shea Ralph is promising, this is still a roster with some obvious deficits.
Vanderbilt has been able to play a lot of teams close this season, but the No. 6 Lady Vols are different. They have size in spades, built to take advantage of what the Commodores' roster lacks. It wasn't for lack of effort from Vanderbilt, which played hard until the final buzzer, but Tennessee was ultimately too much, winning, 65-51 at Memorial Gymnasium.
Tennessee (16-1, 5-0 SEC) has just three players under 6-foot. Vanderbilt (10-7, 1-2) has just three players over 6-foot. That size discrepancy proved, well, enormous.
The Lady Vols were able to keep the Commodores out of the paint (10 points) while scoring there themselves (28 points). The rebounding battle wasn't even a contest, with Tennessee winning, 50-40, on the glass. And Tennessee was able to consistently keep Vanderbilt in foul trouble. Brinae Alexander, who scored 15 points, fouled out with 4½ minutes to go.
The Commodores are not a great offensive team in the best of times, but that was especially true against one of the country's best defensive teams.
Vanderbilt wasn't able to get anything around the rim, so it relied instead on much riskier mid-range shots. To make matters worse, the Commodores' 3-point shots didn't go in, even from usually reliable shooters Alexander and Iyana Moore, who combined to go 3-for-16. Still, Moore was Vanderbilt's leading scorer with 16 points on 5-for-20 shooting, with Alexander scoring 15. No other player had more than six points.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Vanderbilt women's basketball can't overcome Lady Vols' size in loss